European Centre for Modern Languages

Collection of practices

Across Europe, new practices are emerging to support work-related language learning of migrants and ethnic minorities. Some draw on established methodologies and adapt them. Others are wholly innovative, taking advantage of changes and developments in technology, new patterns of work organisation, and new understandings in the field of second language acquisition. All make new professional demands on teachers, learning providers and workplace actors, while posing questions for policy makers and funding agencies.

The practices presented here show some of the many ways in which it is possible to support L2 learning for work, at work and through work. They are offered not as blueprints to be copied, but as inspiration for anyone trying to develop an innovative local solution. Accordingly, they are described using a standardised analytical format that aims to uncover as clearly as possible what each practice consists of and exactly how it aims to support work-related L2 learning. This support may draw on a variety of methods, including instruction, e-learning, peer-learning, coaching, etc.

Seen from this perspective, it is possible also to see support for work-related L2 learning in terms of specific constellations of actors, working together in settings.

 

1. Triangle

Key features

  • Key actors (who): learners, teachers and language providers. The learners are mostly job seekers, some are employed
  • Type of support (what and where): mainly through formal classroom learning. Support aims at developing work-related language skills of individuals, to help those individual access/progress at work. 

2. Square

Key features

  • Key actors (who):  learnersteacherslanguage providers and job centres. The learners are mainly job seekers, some are employed.
  • Type of support (what and where): mainly through formal classroom learning, but can include work-placement, in which case formal learning is enhanced with non-formal and informal learning opportunities. Support is mostly initiated by the local authorities and aims at integrating the learners into the labour market.  

3. Pentagon

Key features

  • Key actors (who): learnersteacherslanguage providers/initial and further vocational training (VET), job centres, community/volunteers. The learners are job seekers or VET trainees. 
  • Type of support (what and where): mainly through formal classroom learning with work-placements, thus integrating formal with non-formal and informal learning. The overall aim of the support is mostly social integration. 

4. Hexagon

Key features

  • Key actors (who): learnersteacherslanguage providers, colleagues/mentors, employers, trade unions/workers’ representatives. The learners are employed.
  • Type of support (what and where): range of different learning arrangements, including formal , non-formal and informal learning; non-formal and informal learning build on the structural learning opportunities that work organisation offers, such as team work, safety and hygiene instruction, etc. In additional to the language skills of individuals, support aims to improve work processes and to enhance vocational competences.

As with all models, these constellations or settings are analytical constructs, and generalisations. Real practices are often more complex. Nonetheless, these models can be used as basic Landkarten, maps that reveal the salient features of a practice.

As further practices emerge, it is hoped that they can be documented and added to this collection – and the conceptual framework amended accordingly.